Cold Brew Coffee Guide

The summer months are almost here and, as the mercury rises, the temperature of our coffee seems to decrease, and so, we enter ice cold beverage territory. In particular, a patiently crafted cold brew.

What is cold brew?

A cold brew, also known as cold press or immersion cold brew, is a cold coffee drink, which usually takes at least 8 hours to steep in the fridge. The brewing process differs significantly from a traditional brew.

Unlike hot brew, where coffee compounds are quickly released due to the high temperature, this method relies on a long brewing time. Due to the lack of heat, the bitter and acidic compounds are not extracted, which makes the brew juicy, rich, and sweet.

Why Cold Brew?

With each day, the summer edges ever closer. Many people are looking for a perfect summer drink; nicely caffeinated and refreshing, the cold brew delivers a satisfying coffee in a new format.

The immersion method is also an eco-friendly option that does not require any heat or electricity. All Hario cold brew makers are portable, dishwasher safe and easy to use.

Hario Cold Brew Coffee Filter in Bottle
Enjoy cold brew coffee, wherever you are or wherever you're going

How Does Cold Brew Coffee Taste?

For coffee connoisseurs, the cold brew method is fascinating due to the nuances in flavour that it highlights in the coffee. Cold brew coffee tastes less acidic, richer and full-bodied. It is an excellent extraction method, which delivers a unique flavour.

Unlike other techniques, cold brew can be enjoyed for a longer period of time (the taste and flavour will start disappearing after 3 days in the fridge). Try making ice-cream or ice lollies and be surprised by how well cold brew works.

Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee?

For those unfamiliar with the cold brew process, let’s make the distinction between an iced coffee and a slowly crafted cold brew quite clear.

Cold brew coffee is smoother, has a more balanced acidity, and has exceptionally complex flavours. Simply filling your glass with ice and pouring over a steaming cup of coffee or a single shot of espresso does not offer the same flavour profile. By relying on time rather than temperature, the results are much more concentrated, and the final taste is more rewarding.

Is Cold Brew and Slow-Drip Cold Brew the Same?

With cold brew, there is not just one process, but two: simple immersion (cold brew) and drip cold brew (slow-drip cold brew). Even though the result is quite similar, the brewing routines differ dramatically.

Whilst the cold brew method is a straight-forward immersion of the coffee grounds in cold water, a slow-drip cold brew is more challenging and requires additional equipment. In order to prepare a slow-drip cold brew, also known as Kyoto-style coffee, you need to use a scientific-looking device such as Hario Clear Water Dripper or Shizuku Slow Drip Brewer.

With slow-drip, during brewing the room-temperature water drops through coffee grounds and a filter over a course of a 2-5 hour period (instead of the 8+ hours for a cold brew). The result is a mellow coffee which can be left in the fridge for a few days. Unlike the cold brew, the slow-drip coffee has a darker, more intense colour, is full-bodied, and has more flavour.

History of Cold Brew Coffee

The origin of the cold brew is still uncertain. One theory states that the Dutch were producing easily transportable “coffee essence” in large quantities, which they would use to prepare hot or cold coffee drinks when in East Asia. Other theories point towards Latin America, namely Peru, Guatemala and Java. Cold brew concentrate is also known to have been used during the war to restore soldiers’ energy.

How to Prepare Cold Brew Coffee?

It is fairly straight-forward to make a cold brew – you just have to be patient and allow advanced planning.

  1. Insert the coffee grounds into the filter
  2. Place the filter into the bottle
  3. Pour water over the coffee grounds
  4. Place the cold brew bottle in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours
  5. Serve with ice if you want it extra cold
  6. Enjoy great-tasting coffee.

Common Mistakes When Making a Cold Brew

  • Using the wrong water to coffee ratio. It’s recommended to use a 7:1 water to coffee formula to make a cold brew and 1:1 for a coffee concentrate
  • Use a good hand grinder such as Hario Mini Mill or Hario Skerton Pro to ensure the beans are grinded coarsely. Otherwise, you may end up with a bitter, sludgy cup of coffee due to uneven, or too fine coffee grounds
  • Do not underestimate the importance of water. Use chemical-free or filtered water to achieve the perfect cup.